Lawsuit filed after suicide in hospital
Written By: Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Ruffo & Giuffra LLP
The family of a woman who took her own life in a New York hospital has filed a lawsuit, alleging that the hospital's negligence led to the woman's suicide. The New York State Justice Center conducted an investigation and concluded that a hospital employee had committed neglect by failing to perform scheduled checks of the patient every 15 minutes.
According to the suit, the woman began to struggle with depression four years into her marriage, and in 2010, she was admitted into the hospital after attempting to overdose on pills. She was placed on 24-hour monitoring for about a week in the hospital's intensive care unit. In September 2013, she was again admitted to the hospital after another attempt to overdose on pills.
When she was discharged after the 2013 incident, the woman's husband claims that the hospital provided little information regarding the appropriate course of action that should next be taken. Instead, he says that the hospital was unable to locate a psychiatrist for the woman and recommended her to seek treatment at a walk-in clinic. However, a day after she was released, she again attempted to commit suicide, and this time the hospital designated checks every 15 minutes. At some point, the woman took her own life, and by the time her body was discovered, some rigor mortis had set in, according to the family's attorney.
The family in this case alleges that the woman's suicide was due to the hospital's negligence, recklessness and carelessness, and they believe that she should have been placed on round-the-clock monitoring. In a situation similar to this one, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to help examine the facts of the case in order to help a family determine the amount of damages they could pursue against the negligent party.
Source: WIVB, "State finds neglect in woman’s suicide at ECMC", Rich Newberg, May 14, 2014